Thursday, September 18, 2014

Robert Lipsyte's THE TWIN POWERS reviewed in Kirkus

Here’s another nice review of Robert Lipsyte's THE TWIN POWERS (Clarion), this time in Kirkus:

“Double the adventure continues in this stand-alone sequel to The Twinning Project (2012). Plenty of back story updates previous readers and catches up new readers to the dilemmas of the first novel. The father of identical (and half-alien) twin brothers Eddie and Tom still remains the prisoner of evil Dr. Traum. Both Earths (the original, where Tom lives, and a second planet, created by aliens and running about 50 years behind in the year 1958, where Eddie lives, in the same New Jersey town) are on a course for destruction, but whether it will be the result of human negligence, government interference or alien demolition remains a mystery. When an alien with a penchant for quoting Mark Twain visits the boys on their respective Earth homes, Eddie and Tom begin a zany escapade to save both planets. Told in a variety of voices, including those of the boys' loyal and diverse friends, who have issues of their own, the chapters capture modern and 1950s pop culture and history—which Eddie and Tom hope to exploit. Lipsyte doesn't always give much detail along the way, but in this case it works, keeping the story light and uncomplicated for reluctant readers. An agreeably quick-paced time-travel romp. (Science fiction. 10-14)”

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Robert Lipsyte's THE TWIN POWERS reviewed in School Library Journal

"Chock-full of action and suspense, this series will get readers thinking about important social and environmental issues," says the September 2014 School Library Journal review of Robert Lipsyte's THE TWIN POWERS (Clarion) and referring also to THE TWINNING PROJECT (Clarion), the first book. Here is the whole review:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Jan Spivey Gilchrist inspires Wisconsin students at Olson Elementary School

 In April 2014, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, winner of the Coretta Scott King award for NATHANIEL TALKING and the illustrator of THE GREAT MIGRATION: JOURNEY TO THE NORTH (HarperCollins), an ALA 2012 Notable Children's Book, visited Olson Elementary School in Verona, Wisconsin to speak to their students and celebrate Dia! Diversity in Action with them. 

After the visit, Sheri Boser, the library media specialist at the school told Jan, "We so enjoyed your visit and it was the highlight for many of our children and our staff. We have so much to learn from each other in how to live our lives and find hope and purpose. Your talk was such an inspiration and your body of work has been so important to us. Thank you so much for sharing your time and your talents with us."

The district also published the school's news article about the visit on their website. Here's the article: 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dori Hillestad Butler's blog tour for THE HAUNTED LIBRARY

Find out about Dori Hillestad Butler's new "The Haunted Library" series (Penguin) on her blog tour. Next stop: GEO Librarian at this blog stop

Emily Arnold McCully's STRONGHEART reviewed in School Library Journal

"Children will enjoy this sweet story, and dog lovers especially will find themselves revisiting this book time and again," proclaims the September 2014 School Library Journal review of STRONGHEART: THE WORLD'S FIRST MOVIE STAR DOG (Henry Holt), written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully. Here is the whole review:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mike Graf's topics for multi-class or single-class school presentations

Mike Graf recently told us all about the various presentations he gives during his school visits and we’d like to share them with you.

There are several different presentations that he offers schools; each is tailored to fit desired grade levels and schools can mix and match presentations to best suit their individual needs:

National Park Adventures and Realistic Fiction:  This is his most requested presentation.  Schools get a combination of national park drama and storytelling, national park background information from key parks, and realistic fiction writing tips and techniques.  This one hour assembly is best for 2nd grade and up, but adjustments can easily be made for lower grades.  This also fits well with his ‘Adventures with the Parkers’ series.

All About Weather:  This one hour presentation teaches all about severe weather, storm chasing, weather safety, and basic meteorology.  During this talk, he also reads sections from some of his books on weather and tells stories from his weathercasting and storm chasing past.  This topic is best for 2nd grade and up.

A Tour of the National ParksSchools choosing this get a grand tour of many of our most famous national parks. While giving a slideshow of his journeys in the 12 national parks in theAdventures with the Parkers series, he shares some of the details and accounts he experienced while researching each of these parks.  He also gives background information on some of the best things to see and do while vacationing in each of these parks. This topic is best for 2nd grade and up.

Writing Workshop: This 60-75 minute workshop is for smaller groups and follows his ‘National Park Adventures and Realistic Fiction’ presentation.  During this workshop he gives further advice on writing and encourages and guides students to begin writing their own stories by giving feedback along the way.  In these sessions, he teaches students to write the beginning, middle, and end of a story, encompassing such techniques as foreshadowing, character development, setting descriptions, building suspense, and editing. This topic works well for GATE/TAG (Gifted and Talented Education/Talented and Gifted) students and grades 4th and up.

Weather Workshop: Following his weather assembly, students make cloud charts illustrating the four basic types of clouds and the weather each brings. Students also learn about other cloud types and get some basic tips on a weather broadcast. This presentation is for smaller groups and GATE/TAG classes from 4th grade and up.

Mini Tour of the National Parks(for K-1st grade classes only). In this presentation, he takes younger students on a mini tour of some of our best national parks. With a slideshow presentation, he shares pictures and talks about what makes the parks unique and awesome to visit. This presentation takes about 30 minutes.

Author-In Residence Writing Seminar: For 5th grade and up, these seminars can be one to two weeks in length. Mike will be happy to provide details to interested schools.

SKYPE Presentations: Topics and time vary and can be discussed individually with Mike.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

S.A. Bodeen's SHIPWRECK ISLAND reviewed in Kirkus and Booklist

Further to the great review of S.A. Bodeen's SHIPWRECK ISLAND (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan) that was in School Library Journal, here is part of the review from Kirkus:

The first in a series, a contemporary castaway tale featuring a blended family.

Twelve-year-old Sarah Robinson (yes, shades of Swiss Family Robinson) is upset: Her father has remarried (he met his new wife, Yvonna Murillo, through online dating). Now Sarah’s stuck with stepbrothers Marco (Sarah’s age) and his little brother, Nacho. Marco’s equally unhappy about moving from Texas to Southern California. When the newlyweds decide to skip their honeymoon in lieu of an all-family cruise, the kids soon face bigger problems than merging food preferences and family traditions. Alternating chapters punctuated with plentiful dialogue move briskly, offering readers Sarah’s and Marco’s reactions to an increasingly surreal adventure. It begins when they board the sketchy Moonflight, manned by an understaffed Capt. Norm (his first mate is a Newfoundland called Ahab), and escalates with a sudden storm that maroons them off a lush tropical island. Sarah and Marco glimpse strange creatures, suggesting trouble lurks in paradise (they must climb trees to avoid giant coconut-eating crabs). Sarah and Marco’s shared sense of danger ultimately transforms them from inconvenienced, contrary preteens to wary….More tantalizing appetizer than full entrĂ©e, this book will leave readers hungry for a second helping. (Adventure. 10-13)

Adds Booklist: "Narrative tension runs high as the kids try to adjust to their new life and the stress of their disastrous vacation . . . this adventure just gets going when the book comes to an end, leaving the story wide open for a sequel."

We can't wait to read the second book!